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It Happens All the Time: A Novel

It Happens All the Time: A Novel

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It Happens All the Time: A Novel

ratings:
3.5/5 (44 ratings)
Length:
351 pages
5 hours
Released:
Mar 28, 2017
ISBN:
9781476704463
Format:
Book

Description

“Bravely sheds light on sexual assault and consent. In alternating perspectives friends Tyler and Amber recount an alcohol-fueled night that changed the course of their lives.” –Us Weekly

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)— comes a compelling story about friendship and consent, perfect for “fans of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain” (Library Journal).

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

Told “with nuance and compassion” (Kirkus Reviews) in alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time is “a compulsory read for men and women” (Redbook) that will “consume you, drawing you into the very real plight of the main characters and leaving you hoping for a better future for us all” (Buzzfeed).
Released:
Mar 28, 2017
ISBN:
9781476704463
Format:
Book

About the author

Amy Hatvany is the author of nine novels, including It Happens All the Time, Somewhere Out There, and A Casual Encounter. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her family.

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It Happens All the Time - Amy Hatvany

Oksana

Tyler

I don’t see the gun until it’s pointed right at me.

Drive, she says, shifting her upper body toward me. We are in the cab of my truck, me behind the wheel, Amber in the passenger seat. Her arm trembles, from uncertainty or the weight of the weapon, it’s impossible to tell.

I look at her, blinking fast. Amber, wait—

Shut up. Her voice is stone. Unyielding. She cocks the hammer with her thumb and I jerk to the left, toward the driver’s side window. My shoulders hunch up around my ears and then—I can’t help it—I say her name again.

I said, shut up! Amber repeats, this time with a shrill, unstable edge. She tilts her head toward the parking lot’s exit. Go. Her index finger rests against the side of the trigger. One twitch, one small movement, and it could all be over.

I straighten and try to steady my breath. Just do what she says. I put the key in the ignition, turn it, and the engine springs to life. The radio blasts and Amber and I both startle; she hurries to snap it off. A bead of sweat slides down my forehead, despite the bone-chilling bite in the air. It’s early November, and it strikes me that it has been almost a year since she came home for Christmas and found me waiting for her at her parents’ house. So much has happened since then. Everything has changed.

I pull out onto the street, telling myself that one of my coworkers inside the red-brick station house must have noticed the two of us together, that something in Amber’s stance or facial expression hinted at what she was about to do. Someone will follow us or, at the very least, call the police. But even as I think these things, I know they won’t happen. My partner, Mason, had already left for home, for his wife and daughter. The paramedic team who took over for us was behind the closed doors of the garage, double-checking inventory in the rig. The firefighters were upstairs in the bunk room, sleeping if they needed it, or in the gym, shooting the shit and lifting weights to pass the time. As first responders, we are accustomed to crises, our bodies conditioned to react. We race toward disaster instead of from it, but we don’t stand by the window, scanning our surroundings, expecting to see it as it strikes.

When I first stepped outside and saw Amber waiting for me in the dimly lit parking lot, I was foolish enough to feel a spark of hope. We need to talk, she said, and I nodded, noting that she was thinner than I’d seen her in years. Her face was gaunt, sharp cheekbones and enormous hazel eyes in darkened sockets. Her thin brown hair fell in messy waves to her jawline, and she wore a puffy black ski jacket that only emphasized her stick-slim legs. She couldn’t have weighed much more than a hundred pounds. Nine years ago, when she was fifteen, in the hospital at her worst, she had weighed eighty-two.

Get on the freeway, Amber says now, releasing the hammer and dropping the gun to her lap, where she cradles it, staring straight ahead. Her face is shrouded in shadow, making it impossible for me to guess what she is thinking. Go south.

You don’t need to do this, I say, hoping I might be able to reason with her. You said we need to talk, so please . . . let’s talk.

Just drive where I tell you to drive. She lifts the gun and points it at me again, this time holding it with two hands, one cupped under the other, her finger still lying next to the trigger.

Okay, okay! Sorry. A familiar, tightly wound panic coils in my chest; I worry what might happen if it springs loose. You don’t need the gun.

Her eyes narrow into slits. Don’t tell me what I need. She jabs the nose of the weapon into my ribs and cocks the hammer once more.

I gasp, and then pump the brakes, slowing to a stop at a red light. My eyes flit to our surroundings, searching for someone on the street, anyone I can signal for help, but it’s three in the morning in our sleepy college town. There are no other cars around.

The tips of my nerves burn beneath my skin, and then I hear my dad’s deep voice in my head: "Don’t just sit there, Son. Do something."

The light turns green, and Amber pushes the gun deeper into my side, urging me forward. I ease my foot down on the gas pedal, contemplating the ways my father might take control of a situation like this. I see him shooting out his right arm and grabbing Amber by the back of the neck, slamming her head against the dashboard. I imagine his thick fingers curling into a fist and punching her in the face.

But I don’t want to hurt Amber, not more than I already have. What I want is for everything to go back the way it was when we first met—before my parents’ divorce and her illness, before we grew apart and then came back together, closer than ever, last June, after she came home from school with an engagement ring on her finger. I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

I hate you, she says. Her voice sounds diseased, infected with disgust. I hate you so fucking much.

I wince, suspecting that I deserve every bit of that venom, the pain of the gun jammed against my ribs. I might even deserve the bullets inside it. I turn onto the freeway onramp, accelerate, and then, unsure what Amber’s plan might be, I look at her. I know, I say. I hate me, too.

Amber

It was just after midnight when I turned the corner onto my parents’ street, three hours later than I’d told them I’d be home for Christmas break. As I coasted down the gravel driveway that ran alongside the house, I switched off my headlights, just as I had in high school when I showed up past curfew, hoping that the cover of darkness would allow me to sneak inside without getting caught. I might be able to get away with this now, having been away at college for almost four years, but back then, there was no doubt my parents would be waiting up for me, sitting at the kitchen table, my mother sipping at a cup of hot peppermint tea and my father nursing a two-finger pour of Scotch, concern etched into deep lines on both of their foreheads.

Where have you been? my father would demand when I finally walked through the back door. Your mother and I have been worried sick!

Sorry, I’d mumble, shoving my fists into the pockets of my coat and dropping my gaze to the floor. I knew it was pointless to make excuses; it was better to appear penitent and promise to never let it happen again. I understood that their concern was simply a side effect of my being an only child—a child who almost didn’t survive. I came into the world nine weeks early via an emergency C-section, and the neonatal team in the delivery room had to whisk me away after I was lifted, unmoving, from my mother’s womb. I hadn’t cried the way a newborn should. I couldn’t, because I wasn’t breathing. As the doctors called out codes and pumped air into my deflated lungs, my mother lay on the operating table and sobbed, terrified of losing me, while my father squeezed her hand, telling her over and over again that everything would be okay.

You almost died, my mom said, the first time she told me this story. Her eyes, the same green-gold color as mine, welled with tears as she produced a picture of me inside what she said was an incubator, where I stayed for the first two months of my life. I couldn’t believe how small I was—just three and a half pounds—how the map of my veins glowed like tiny blue rivers beneath translucent, epidermal parchment. They literally had to jump-start your heart, she said. "It was a miracle that you lived. You’re a miracle, sweetie. Don’t ever forget that."

I was only seven at the time, and so I nodded, wanting her to think that her words had made me feel treasured and special, but hearing that my mother thought my birth was miraculous sent an uncomfortable shiver up my spine. I imagined that I’d better do something exceptional, be someone exceptional, to live up to that birth story. They chose not to have any more children because of my perilous arrival; instead, they focused their energies, and all their hopes and dreams, on me.

I sighed as I turned off the engine of my car, landing on the only other time I’d been in a hospital, in an uncomfortable bed, hooked up to monitors, wires, and tubes—a time when a choice I’d made put both my parents’ hearts and my life at risk. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, as if that might stop me from seeing the painful reel of memories playing inside my head. I’m better now, I told myself. I’m not that person anymore.

I lifted my backpack and cell phone from the passenger seat, and peered up at the cozy, two-story Victorian-style house where I’d spent the first eighteen years of my life. Black December clouds obscured the moon, but the glow from the streetlamp was enough to illuminate the hundred-year-old structure that my parents had painstakingly updated as time and money allowed. They replaced the plumbing, the knob-and-tube wiring, and finally, after all the rooms had been fully remodeled and everything brought up to code, they sanded and lacquered the original blond maple floors. The outside was painted robin egg blue, and the wraparound porch and steep eaves were edged in white gingerbread trim, both of which were currently covered in hundreds of festive, twinkling lights. Even if the last few years I lived there hadn’t exactly been a fairy tale, it still looked like a storybook house, and it would always be a place I could call home.

Hiking my bag over my left shoulder, I opened the trunk of my car and hefted my black suitcase up and out, setting it on the ground. I was anxious to get inside, climb the stairs, and slip into my childhood bed. The entire time I’d been living in Pullman for school, my mom left the room I grew up in untouched—hopeful, I was sure, that I might return to Bellingham and move back in with them once I graduated, in six months. But the truth was, if I had had a choice in the matter, I wouldn’t even have come home for Christmas. After suffering through a brutal finals week, all I wanted was to snuggle up with Daniel and talk about our plans for moving to Seattle together next fall, where he’d be attending the University of Washington medical school and I would start studying for my official certification by the American College of Sports Medicine. Just sitting for the test required a four-year degree in nutrition and physiological science, and afterward I’d be able to start working toward my ultimate goal of working as a trainer for professional athletes, specifically for the Seahawks, the team I’d grown up rooting for with my dad. But instead of Daniel and me spending the holidays with each other, he flew home to Denver to see his family and I packed my bags to drive home and see mine. He and I had only been dating since July, when we met at the gym, but things were already feeling serious between us. Serious enough that when my parents had driven over the pass to spend Thanksgiving break with me, I introduced them to him, something I’d never done with someone I was dating before. All of my other relationships had been short-lived—lasting a few weeks, a month at the most. But Daniel and I had slept together practically every night for the last four months, either at his place or at mine, and the idea of being away from him for winter break felt like torture.

I snuck through the side door, locked it behind me, and then sent Daniel a text. Made it, I said. Missing you like crazy. I set my backpack on a kitchen chair, glancing around the dark space, listening for the telltale footsteps from the creaky floor upstairs that would mean one or both of my parents were still awake. My phone dinged, but before I could unlock the screen, a deep voice sounded from the couch in the family room, a space adjacent to the kitchen.

Hey, Amber, it said, and I dropped my phone. It clattered on the hardwood floor as I splayed a flat hand over my chest, feeling like my heart might pound right through it.

Jesus! I said. My gaze flew to the couch, where I saw the shadow of a familiar blond head. I reached over to the wall near the door and flipped on the overhead light so I could see his face. Tyler! I exclaimed. You scared the shit out of me!

Sorry, he said. He stood up and walked around the couch, and I was struck, as I always was since I’d moved away, by how much he had changed since the day we met eleven years ago, when his family moved into our neighborhood. Back then, he was gangly-limbed, all knobby joints and too-big feet and hands. Now twenty-five, he was six-foot-two and had filled out substantially, with broad shoulders and well-muscled arms and legs, a younger, better-looking version of his father. He had full lips, a strong jaw, and pronounced cheekbones that drew direct attention to his eyes. I had a hard time reconciling these two versions of Tyler; whenever I thought of him, my mind flashed to an image of the shy, awkward boy I’d grown up with, not the strong, attractive man he had become.

What are you doing here? I asked. It wasn’t unusual for Tyler to treat our house like his own—he was an only child, too, and after his parents divorced, and his mom, Liz, had to start working full-time, Tyler spent many of the evenings she had to stay late at the hospital pharmacy with us. He and I would do our homework together, and then he’d join us for dinner, sometimes even spending the night on our couch if Liz was stuck with the swing shift. During football season, he would spend every Sunday afternoon watching a game with me and my dad, yelling at the TV and high-fiving when our team scored a touchdown or sacked the opposing team’s quarterback. Tyler was here so often, in fact, that my mother began referring to him as her surrogate son. But the last time I’d been home, we hadn’t parted on the best of terms, so I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable having him here now.

Your parents had Mom and me over for dinner, he said. I told them I’d stay up and make sure you got in okay so they could go to bed. He pulled me into a hug. It’s good to see you.

You, too. I turned my head so my cheek pressed into his chest. His body was hard and warm; his shirt held a whisper of a sweet, but earthy-scented cologne. I didn’t remember him wearing it before, which immediately made me wonder if he had a girlfriend who might have bought it for him. Or perhaps he bought it because of her. It would make everything so much easier if he was dating someone, too.

I stepped back and picked up my phone from the floor, checking to see if the notification chime I’d heard moments before had been a return text from Daniel. Miss you, too, babe, he said. Can’t sleep without you next to me. Love you.

My cheeks flushed as I read his words, and I felt Tyler’s eyes on me, intent. Back in September, when at my parents’ insistence I came home for Labor Day weekend, Tyler and I had hit Cafe Akroteri for dinner on Saturday night, and then hung out at his apartment, half-watching a preseason NFL game he’d recorded while we talked. At some point, I’d told him about Daniel, and his reaction had been less than enthusiastic.

Is it serious? he asked.

I don’t know, I said. It’s getting there, I guess. I like him.

But who is the guy? he demanded. How long have you known him? Have you talked to any of the other girls he’s dated, or his friends? Did you Google him, at least? He peppered me with questions like these until I finally snapped.

You know what, Ty? It’s none of your business, I said. I get enough of this kind of shit from my parents.

He scowled. I’m just worried about you.

No. You’re just jealous, I shot back, and then, seeing how his shoulders curled forward and his face crumpled, I knew that my words had poked at a wound in his heart that had yet to fully heal.

He dropped his gaze to the floor and sat back hard in his seat.

Ty, wait. I didn’t mean—

I think you should go, he said, cutting me off. He looked at me, his eyes the same light, clear color as sea glass. Without another word, he stood up, went into his bedroom, and closed the door. A second later, there was a loud thump, followed by another, and then one more. I wasn’t sure what he was doing—hitting the wall?—but it seemed clear that going after him would only make things worse.

I returned to my parents’ house that night, then drove the six hours back to school the next day. Since then, I’d basically avoided any complicated interaction with Tyler, wanting to keep things light between us, knowing all too well how sensitive he was, and certainly not wanting to hurt him again.

Standing in the kitchen with him now, I hoped that his offer to wait for my arrival was his way of saying that all was well. So, I said. How are you?

You’d know if you ever answered my texts with more than emojis, he said, playfully, but I still heard a tinge of reproach.

I know, I know, I said, holding my hands up in surrender. I’m a sucky friend. My schedule has been brutal. Emojis are pretty much all I can manage. This was mostly true. On top of the fifteen- to seventeen-credit class load I took each semester, I worked as a personal trainer at a gym near my tiny apartment. Most of my clients were mothers trying to get their prepregnancy bodies back, or older women attempting to halt the inevitable ravages of time, neither of which fit in with my long-term career goals. But I tried to look at the job as a stepping-stone, and it paid fairly well. For the most part, I could set my own hours, and to tell the truth, I enjoyed seeing the progress these women made—a pound lost here, a heavier weight added to the leg press there. It reminded me that even the smallest of changes can reap meaningful rewards.

Tyler stayed silent, shuffling his feet and avoiding eye contact, as though he, too, was unsure exactly how to behave after the fight we’d both swept under the rug.

I yawned, and then slapped a hand over my mouth. Sorry, I said through my fingers. Long day. I knew we needed to talk things out, but I was too tired to do it now.

I should let you get some sleep. We’ve got the tree farm field trip in the morning.

Oh god, I groaned. What time? Each year, both our families went to pick out our Christmas trees together, sipping tongue-scalding hot cocoa and eating slightly stale spritz cookies. It was something my parents had done with me since I was born, and we invited Liz and Tyler to join us after her ex-husband, Jason, left them and moved across town to a condo in Fairhaven. Only a lost limb or the threat of deathly illness could excuse me from participating, and even then it was possible my mother would rent a wheelchair and pop a morphine drip in my arm so I wouldn’t miss out. Traditions were kind of her thing.

We’re meeting here at ten. Tyler smiled. I’m glad you’re home. He grabbed his jacket off the back of the couch and then, as suddenly as his head had popped up from the couch, he was gone.

  •  •  •  

My mother had roused me from sleep the same way for as long as I could remember. I’d be curled up beneath the weight of my blankets and she would sneak into my bed, tucking herself around me. Good morning, sunshine, she’d whisper, her mouth resting near my ear. Time to wake up, sweet girl. She would rest her hand on my hip, which she’d pat a few times, then shake gently if I didn’t respond, then more vigorously if I ignored her.

When I was little, I adored feeling her body against mine, the smell of the vanilla bean lotion she applied religiously after she got out of the shower. The mornings I woke on my own, I would feign sleep until she arrived, craving her warmth—the absolute sense of security I felt in her arms. It wasn’t until middle school that I began setting an alarm so I would be sure to already be out of bed before she came to get me. I wanted to be responsible for myself, to take control of the choices I made, even something as insignificant as when and how I started my day.

So now, at twenty-four, a small part of me squirmed in rebellion when I felt her climb into my bed the morning after I’d come home. Good morning, sunshine, she murmured. Time to wake up, sweet girl.

"Mom . . . it’s too early," I moaned, pulling my comforter up tight beneath my chin. Despite how tired I’d been the night before, I was also wired from the surprise of finding Tyler waiting for me, so it had taken me longer than I thought it would to fall asleep. The last thing I felt like doing this morning was get out of bed in order to trek through the woods.

It’s almost ten, honey, my mom said. She threw her right leg over mine and pinned me to her. I let you sleep in a little when Tyler told us how late you got home. He and Liz are already downstairs having coffee. She paused. I made cinnamon rolls.

I stifled a sigh, unable to ignore what her deliberate mention of the baked goods meant. There was no doubt I’d have to eat my mother’s cooking while I was here, or else risk her hovering over me, policing every bite I did or didn’t put in my mouth. Normally, I precooked all of my meals for the week on Sunday nights—four-ounce portions of baked chicken breast or salmon, brown rice, and two-cup containers of kale salad, snack bags of toasted almonds and one-inch cubes of low-fat cheese—but I couldn’t do that here. I’d simply have to eat controlled amounts of whatever she prepared, and get in as much exercise as I could to counteract the onslaught of excess calories.

I rolled over onto my back and peered at my mother, blinking to bring her into focus. She was already dressed in black boots, jeans, and a thick, blue wool sweater. Her auburn hair was pulled into a messy bun atop her head and I noticed a few streaks of silver running through it that hadn’t been there when I last was home. Don’t we usually go in the afternoon?

We’ve always gone in the morning, but nice try. You still have to get up. She threw her arms around me and squeezed, hard.

I grunted, but also hugged her back with just as much strength, letting myself give in to the old sense of safety I felt in her embrace. Whatever my problems with my parents over the years, how much we loved each other had never been an issue. She kissed my forehead and stood up, then yanked back my comforter, exposing my body.

Gah! I exclaimed. Still resting on my side, I brought my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around them in order to protect my skin from the cool air in the room. I only had on a tank top and underwear, and part of me couldn’t help but wonder if she’d pulled back the covers just so she could check to see—as she used to almost every day after I was released from the hospital—if the xylophone of my rib cage showed through my skin or if the valley between my jutting hip bones had deepened.

She must have been satisfied with what she saw, because she didn’t say a word about my appearance. No more stalling. We want to be out of the house by eleven, at the latest. Tyler has to be at work by four, so we have to be back before then.

It was pointless to argue with her, I knew, so after she left, I got up and staggered to the bathroom across the hall. Be sure to dress warmly! my mom called out as she made her way down the stairs. It’s only supposed to get up to thirty-four today!

Great, I thought as I closed the bathroom door. I jogged in place and did two quick sets of jumping jacks and squats, hoping the exertion would perk me up. If I was lucky, I could fit in a run later this afternoon, and maybe a trip to the gym.

It only took me ten minutes to dress and head downstairs—having such a tight schedule between my classes and work had trained me to whittle my routine down to the barest of necessities: dark hair brushed and put into a ponytail, a swipe of mascara and lip gloss to help brighten my face. I heard voices as I walked through the living room into the kitchen, and before I’d even had a chance to say hello, my dad, who stood at the end of the counter, turned around and swooped me into his arms.

Hey, Pops, I said, and the threat of tears stung my eyes. I never realized how much I missed my parents until I came home.

Hey, yourself. He pulled back and held me at arm’s length, gripping my shoulders with thick fingers. He searched my face with his dark blue eyes, while I surreptitiously took in the fact that his beer belly had expanded several inches over the last few months. My father wasn’t a tall man—at five-foot-ten, he was only four inches taller than me—but he was burly and strong, and his presence made me feel like all was right with the world. With his black hair and wide smile he was still handsome, but part of me worried about the dangers of this extra weight settling near his heart. Maybe I could get him to head to the gym with me later, and skip the spritz cookies. I often had to hold myself back from scolding my mother for the kinds of meals she typically cooked—things like meat loaf and buttery mashed potatoes, chicken pot pies, and always some kind of rich dessert—but I reminded myself that just as I hated it when she lectured me about what I did or didn’t eat, she didn’t need me to lecture her.

Beautiful as ever, I see, my dad said.

She sure is, Liz said from across the room, where she sat at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee in hand. So grown up! She smiled, revealing ultrawhite teeth that set off what I knew had to be a spray tan. Her stick-straight, highly processed blond hair grazed her shoulders, and her blue eyes were expertly lined in wing-tipped black. Since divorcing Jason, Liz had gone through a succession of boyfriends, most of whom ended up having just as many issues as her ex. My mom tried setting her up a few times with men who would likely have been good to her, but Liz seemed to only be attracted to big personalities and short fuses.

I chuckled internally at her statement about my being grown up, since technically, I was an adult, but I also knew that, in Liz’s mind, a part of me would always be the chubby eighth grader she was introduced to, just as Tyler would be the younger version of himself to me.

How are you, honey? Liz asked.

She’s anxious to graduate, my mom said, answering for me as she pushed a plate with a giant glazed cinnamon roll upon it toward me on the counter. We made brief eye contact, and I grabbed a fork from the silverware drawer and used it to break off a good-size hunk. She watched as I put it in my mouth and chewed, trying not to cringe from the cloying cream cheese frosting that attacked my taste buds. When I swallowed and the bite hit the back of my throat, I almost gagged. Outside of fruit, I rarely ate any kind of sugar, and when I did, it was usually just a few squares of dark chocolate, and then only for the antioxidants.

Satisfied, my mom turned toward Tyler. "You sure you don’t want

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Reviews

What people think about It Happens All the Time

3.5
44 ratings / 6 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Once again, Amy Hatvany has given her readers a book that explores a topic that is often in the news - date rape and consent. It was a tough book to read and readers are able to see the story line through the eyes of Amber and Tyler as they work to understand what happened and how they are going to live the rest of their lives.Amber and Tyler met when they were 10 and became best friends. Amber always felt a platonic friendship with Ty but he was in love with her. She became engaged while in college but when she was home after graduation, she spent considerable time with Ty and when she kissed him at a party after an evening of heavy drinking by both, things spiraled out of control. This is the story of the emotion and pain caused by that one night. It's told in alternating chapters from each character's point of view so the reader is aware of how it is affecting both of them.It was a tough book to read but it needs to be read and discussed with everyone's daughters AND sons. If you have a teenager or college student, I beg you to have them read this book and then discuss it with them. At this age, they feel invincible and they need to understand how one night can totally change their plans for the future.I received an advance copy of this book to review honestly.
  • (3/5)
    For the subject matter alone and the attention brought to said subject, this book deserves a higher rating than that which I have given. So them why is my rating lower? so many reviewers are raring this higher and I once again find myself swimming upstream. For the first part of the book I felt there was a decided lack of emotion, in telling of the beginning friendship of Tyler and Amber, Amber's medical and mental problems were quite significant, and yet I felt they were treated very matter of fact. What happens is terrible, horrific, a supreme betrayal of trust, I acknowledge this but Tyler, who supposedly loves her shows little effect. Doesn't seem distressed at all, just bugged me. I don't think there has been a character in recent fiction, well obviously the killers in my mysteries, that I have despised more than Tyler's father. He is all things I dislike in a person, male or female. Despicable, as a father and a man. Didn't relate too well with any of the characters, found none of them very sympathetic. The ending, really? Well enough said, Hatvany's preface explains why she wrote this book about this subject and I feel for her, for all victims and as I said I applaud her for bringing attention to this subject, but for me as a story it didn't work. ARC from publisher.
  • (4/5)
    A timely novel for our rape culture. The story is told in a he said she said manner by the two main characters, Tyler and Amber. They were best friends until the night Tyler raped Amber. Not surprisingly they both view the night in question quite differently. No matter who is right the rape has a devastating effect on both Tyler and Amber as well as all those who know them. This is a great novel to share with teenagers and young adults, especially those leaving home for the first time.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing story written with courage, compassion and both sympathy and empathy in equal measures.
    The characters are both loving & kind pulling your emotions in both directions.
    This is my second reading of the book and I was as lost in the story as the first time and really I’m still digesting.
  • (5/5)
    Before I go into my review, I want to let you all know about something BookSparks is doing to help #SPEAKOUT against sexual violence. When you purchase Amy Hatvany’s It Happens All The Time TODAY, BookSparks will donate 30% of all verified purchases to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. All you have to do is purchase the book (online, in-store, doesn’t matter), and send a copy of your receipt to them here: send us your receipt. Your receipt showing the purchase of the book has to have a date of April 19th, but otherwise it is literally that easy. So don’t waste another moment, go buy the book and send them your receipt to start helping victims today! Now onto my thoughts about the book…

    First of all, this book is about much more than consent and sexual assault. It deals with eating disorders, anxiety, stress, and the healthy vs unhealthy ways to deal with each.

    This book has an important message; especially in the times we are living in. We live in a society that loves to blame the victim, particularly when that victim is a woman who has been sexually assaulted. Maybe if she hadn’t drunk as much; worn such a tight top; been in the wrong place at the wrong time, it wouldn’t have happened. When people say things like that, it is excusing the behavior of the perpetrator, by saying he was too tempted by what she was wearing/doing, to stop himself. She brought it on herself. And that thinking is just plain disgusting.

    It Happens All the Time focuses on Amber and Tyler. Best friends since their teens, Tyler has had unrequited love for Amber for as long as he can remember. But Amber hasn’t, and doesn’t, feel the same way.

    Tyler has a father who is, basically, verbally abusive to him, and this wrecks havoc on Tyler’s psyche, causing him to suffer from extreme anxiety and panic attacks. As a person who suffers from anxiety, I was waiting to feel empathy towards Tyler, but that feeling never came. I don’t know if that is because I knew what he was going to do, or if it was Tyler himself I didn’t like – maybe both. Either way, I didn’t sympathize nor empathize with him.

    Amber has supportive, if overprotective, parents. She suffered from an eating disorder in high school, and it is still something she sometimes struggles with. She comes home over the summer, recently engaged to her boyfriend Daniel, but starts having doubts about the engagement. After an argument with Daniel over the phone, she lets go at a party she attends with Tyler and his friends. She feels safe because she’s with Tyler. He won’t let anyone hurt her; he’ll protect her. She never would have guessed, that Tyler himself would be the one to hurt her. Which makes what happens even worse, because it was done by someone she trusted completely.

    Fueled by too much alcohol, years of longing on Tyler’s part, and Amber’s doubt about Daniel, the two of them kiss. What happens after that kiss changes them both forever.

    The supporting characters in the book were great, particularly Amber’s parents, her boyfriend Daniel, and Tyler’s coworker Mason. Each played an important part in the story. Hatvany’s description of Amber’s feelings after the rape were startlingly real. Sometimes when you read a story, you still feel like an outsider, you know what you are reading isn’t ‘real.’ But Hatvany’s writing when Amber describes what she’s going through, feels completely real, and it is all the more devastating knowing this same thing happens to real women and men, every single day.

    I won’t go into many more details here, because you need to read the book yourself. But I will say this; Tyler tries to rationalize his behavior, putting the blame on anyone and anything that is not himself. Amber feels like she is to blame for what happened after that kiss, because of everything that lead up to it. Both of them are backwards in their thinking.

    If someone says, wait, stop, hold on, I don’t want to do this, NO. Then listen. Teach your girls to speak up and fight for themselves. Teach your boys to listen to girls and to believe they mean what they say. To respect them. And maybe that will help put us one step closer to creating a safer world.

    Don’t forget to send your receipt to BookSparks after you make your purchase today! send us your receipt

    I received an ARC from BookSparks in exchange for an honest review.
    This review was originally published on Books For The Living.
  • (5/5)
    My Review of “It Happens All the Time” by Amy HatvanyKudos to Amy Hatvany for writing such a controversial and heartwrenching novel. In “It Happens All the Time”, the topic of rape and assault is discussed.The genres of this novel are Contemporary Fiction and Women’s Fiction.The author vividly describes her two characters as conflicted, complicated and troubled. Amber and Tyler have been friends for many years. Tyler comes from a home where his father bullied and abused him. As a result, Tyler experiences anxiety attacks. Amber has problems with her body image and becomes anorexic. Both friends are supportive and encouraging of one another.The tragedy of this story is when one night Amber and Tyler are drinking and become intoxicated. Amber is engaged to another man, and is confused, and Tyler has different feelings for Amber that are not reciprocated. There is dancing and kissing, and more liquor. Things progress too rapidly , and Amber tries to put a stop to what is going on. Unfortunately Tyler does not get the message to stop.The consequences of this night change Amber and Tyler’s lives. Amber is shattered by the fact that someone that she trusted and cared for betrayed her. Tyler vacillates in his feelings of what happened and makes excuses to himself.This was an emotional read for me, and I feel this issue is so very relevant in today’s society. Both young women and men should be better educated about appropriate behavior, and what the word “No” means. Also there are pressures and entitlements to these young people who sometimes just want what they want, and can’t take responsibility for their actions. Another issue is the abundance of alcohol and drugs served at parties and colleges. Parents should prepare their children to be responsible.I would highly recommend this book as a must read.Author: lindasbookobsession